PM talked of major housing crisis - Salvation Army
Prime Minister Bill English cannot recall whether he talked about a looming housing shortage as a "crisis" during a 2010 conversation with a senior Salvation Army staff member
At a housing debate in Wellington on Wednesday, Major Campbell Roberts said English, then finance minister, had said in 2010 Auckland was heading toward a major housing crisis by 2015 or 2016, RNZ reported.
English made the comments during a phone call when asking Roberts to be a member of the Housing Shareholders Advisory Group, Roberts said.
After talking about the use of Housing NZ assets, the second thing he said was that "he was seeing a major crisis in Auckland in housing in five or six years," Roberts told RNZ's Morning Report.
The revelation was in contrast to the Government's public stance, in which it has steadfastly denied the existence of a crisis.
A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said that at the time the Government was seeking advice from a range of stakeholders, including community groups, as it sought to reform the state housing and planning system which was affecting the ability to build for a growing country and economy.
"The Prime Minister was having a number of such conversations on housing reform at the time, including with a housing advisory group which included the Salvation Army, and he doesn't recall exactly what he said," the spokesperson said.
"The Government has always acknowledged housing is a challenge and has been working hard to increase supply. That work has been under way for a number of years and led to a comprehensive overhaul of New Zealand's planning systems, the social housing sector, and the launch of a large scale government building programme."